Updated: Aug 4, 2019
If we all agree that everything is a sell, then we have to agree that the art of sales is diverse and maybe not so complicated. Sales training is not a "one size does not fit all". Every thing from large corporations, small businesses, politics, medical, human basic relations depends on the ability to sell either products or ideas. From commerce to selling ourselves everyday, it is all a sell. We develop natural sales abilities at an early age, kids learn to manipulate parents and as they grow older they learn to manipulate others around them for personal gain. If you are a parent you are well aware how our kids "work" to get what they want. Children learn that simply demanding something like the keys to the car on prom night will not produce positive results, however, by refining their approach and applying a few learned techniques they obtain their objective with little effort. Applying for a "that" job you always wanted, shooting for a date with the person of your dreams, trying to make a positive impression, it is all part of the selling game and it comes naturally. My point is, we are all natural sales artist, so why do we make sales training so complicated and why do so many sales people fail?
We have taken Pavlo's Bell and made it into Einstein's Riddle which is an insanely complex puzzle to a logical and simple solution. To make it simple and more productive we need to understand the dichotomy of sales, split in two basic divisions "Wants" versus "Needs". Understanding those two basic concepts changes the entire approach and foundation for training in each field. The two examples of "Wants" versus "Needs" is Retail sales versus Service sales. Retail sales revolves in consumer "wants", you may want a new car, new TV, or new house but your life in most cases will not change if you do not buy or get what you "want". Training in "want" sales (Retail) is a different art with entirely separate set of skills training. The problem is that the majority of sales training today is based on retail sales training. What works in successful retail has a completely opposite and sometimes catastrophic effect in service sales training. There are so many concepts and tactics associated with retail sales that you could not cover it with a catalog of training manuals. Training is complex and requires tactics that would be counterproductive if applied to service sales training. Yet, again, most training on the service end is based on retail sales.
Selling service is based on "Need", which is almost criminal to call it a sell, it is too damn easy compared to retail sales that have to be mined, worked, coaxed and pushed. Service sales are so easy that the majority of failed sales in service industry is actually caused by service inspectors or technicians that actually "unsell" instead of sell to the consumer. Let me give you an example, if your furnace craps out, it is below twenty degrees and you have ice hanging off your ears you are going to call a company and either have the unit repaired or replaced at a significant cost, that is a given. This is NOT something you "want", this is something you NEED! There are so many examples. Let's examine your dentist, you are diligent about your hygiene, you religiously have your teeth cleaned every six months but that one time the dentist informs you that he has some good news and some bad news and points out a significant cavity. Good news is, he can fix it, bad news is, it will hurt like hell, not only your mouth but your wallet. You do not want large stubby hairy hands in your mouth with sharp instruments that make horrible noises but you know you NEED to have it done. There will be a cost for this need, you will do it (either with this dentist or another but you will eventually do it), and by the way you will be offered upgrades on fillings, caps or other cosmetic refinements available. Yes, you are being sold. The fact that you "need" to have this service does not diminish the fact you will have to pay for it. "Hey! I have dental insurance!" Well, someone sold you that too....everything is a sell. You can seek second or third opinions, you can price shop, but at the end of the day you will do it, YOU HAVE TO. You see the difference? You don't have to buy that new car, that new TV or that new house, but you have to fix that tooth, that furnace or that bed bug infestation you recently contacted.
So, based on the information I have just exposed, why do you even need sales training relating to service or "needs"? Understanding the dichotomy of sales is the first step to correcting or solving the riddle. The second step is to implement a sales training program that is geared to the correct profession, if it is the service industry do not introduce retail sales training. My book, "The World Hates a Salesman", walks the service industry sales force, step by step through the foundation of selling service.